ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A northeast Albuquerque bookstore has no other choice but to turn the page and start a new chapter. A Wal-Mart supermarket is taking over the space and the clock is running out to find a new home.
“This Edward Abbey, 'A Voice Crying in the Wilderness,' that’s the original manuscript he was working from,” Steve Stout said in a tour of his rare book wing.
Stout knows a thing or two about books, in fact, they're his life. But like a press binding down, he's facing some serious pressure.
“Right now, we are waiting to be evicted and the space to be demolished,” Stout said.
For more than 30 years, Page One has called the Juan Tabo Plaza home. Now, they're being forced out.
Stout says the landlord made a deal with Wal-Mart and soon, they'll be bringing one of their neighborhood markets to where the bookstore now stands, replacing fiction and mystery with groceries.
Stout says he's just waiting for the phone call.
“And then after that, in 30 days, we'll probably need to be out.”
The thought of that isn't too appetizing for some customers.
“There are enough Wal-Marts, there aren't enough bookstores,” Mark Miller said.
“This is a local bookstore. This isn't a big chain. It's keeping everything local.”
But believe it or not, Stout says he's looking forward to change.
“I'm actually excited about a new location because our air conditioners here are 45 years old, landlord hasn't been willing to improve them,” Stout said.
Finding a place to move hasn't been easy, though.
Just when Stout thought he had a place locked down, another national chain beat him to the punch. But he says when the time comes, his fellow bookworms have volunteered to help make the transition.
“It’s the only reason I'm staying in the book business,” Stout said. “It’s my life and when the community pulls together and supports us, that’s what makes it worthwhile.”
Even though Stout is okay about the move, he did say having the Wal-Mart in the neighborhood will take away from the culture of the area. A culture he says is mostly independent businesses.
Stout says he's close to finishing a deal with a space at the Mountain Run Shopping Center near Eubank and Juan Tabo. Demolition of Page One is set to begin in December.
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